I am an applied climatologist with interests in hydrology, water resources, and coastal and island environments of the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. My graduate work and dissertation focused on the impact of climatic variability upon the flood hydrology of the southeastern United States. I still pursue some of these flood hydroclimatology projects including investigation of Carolina Coastal Plain hydrology with Dr Benedetti and a flood monitoring project in Brunswick County.
A beaver dam pond in Brunswick County NC prone to flooding.
UNCW student and LACR research assistant Chris Thompson maintaining RENCI Vaisala weather station in Southport, NC.
Since graduate school, the majority of my research efforts have focused on hydroclimatic variability in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Through a research permit from the Bahamian Department of Agriculture and the Gerace Research Center, College of the Bahamas, I established a meteorological observation network on San Salvador in 2001. This network collects data for use in collaborative research that links climate to karst processes, the microbiology of inland lakes, the distribution of invasive tree species, and island water resource development. Initially, this research focused upon assessing the climate of flank margin caves on the island with an attempt to assess the potential of condensation-corrosion as a cave growth process. This work served as the basis for similar analysis on other carbonate islands (Puerto Rico and Guam) and a preliminary conclusion that the probability of condensation-corrosion increasing cave volume in these locations is very low. This research continues to date with data collection on cave microclimatology that will assess the process of condensation-corrosion and other geo-chemical processes over a longer time-period.
LACR weather station at the Gerace Research Center, San Salvador, Bahamas.
Former LACR research assistants Crump, Faircloth, and Lambertson instrumenting Crescent Top Cave San Salvador, Bahamas.
Beyond the research of the link between cave climatology and cave formation processes, a rain gauge network on San Salvador collects data to assess the spatial variability of precipitation across the island. The majority of current literature suggests that a small island with low relief such as San Salvador will experience little spatial variability in precipitation. However, field observations over the past ten years indicate it is common on San Salvador for one location to be experiencing rain and the rest of the island to be dry. Preliminary analysis of the data collected indicates that subtle differences do exist in rainfall amounts across the island but these differences are not statistically significant. Continued collection of rainfall data will add to the period of record for this study and allow for a more rigorous assessment of these subtle patterns in spatial variability. The results from this research are being used by biologists to assess the differences in microbial populations across the island, by geographers to assess the distribution of invasive tree species, and by hydrologists to assess areas of the island with the greatest potential for freshwater supply. A new aspect of this research, recently started with a seed grant from UNC Wilmington, is the use of LANDSAT satellite images to assess cloud cover over San Salvador and link these cloud patterns with rainfall occurrence.
FCIR LANDSAT satellite image of San Salvador, Bahamas.
The research on San Salvador has lead to broader research questions about the hydroclimatology of the entire Caribbean, particularly the Caribbean mid-summer drought (MSD). The Caribbean MSD represents a decrease in rainfall between June and August, a time of year that conventional wisdom suggests should be rainy due to atmospheric instability and high frequency of tropical storms. I have already investigated, in collaboration with Scott Curtis, East Carolina University, the spatial variation in the Caribbean MSD and its link to the North Atlantic high pressure cell. Recently, Scott and I received funding from the National Science Foundation Geography and Regional Science and Climate Dynamics Programs to further assess the spatial variability in the Caribbean MSD and the atmospheric processes associated with its genesis and variability. Recently htis project has expanded to determine how the MSD is impacting Jamaican agriculture.
Beyond the research in the Caribbean, I firmly believe that one duty of a university and its faculty is outreach and engagement with the surrounding community and region. University and community collaboration creates unique educational and research opportunities for students and faculty alike. Accordingly, a significant portion of my research efforts focus upon identifying community and regional issues/problems that can be solved or addressed through applied climate research. Since being at UNC Wilmington, my efforts in this research theme have focused upon the development of coastal climatology tools to assist local stakeholders in decision-making. For example, through a NOAA funded project, approximately 300 people in the tourism and recreation sector of southeastern North Carolina were interviewed to assess their specific needs for coastal climatology products. This needs assessment guided the development of test products for the National Climate Data Center and National Weather Service Offices that examples for development of services and products offered to coastal communities.
Onslow Bay Coastal Climatology web page (www.cormp.org).
In all of these previous research activities, I have involved students in the research process. Over the years, I have had students accompany me to the Bahamas and the Caribbean, conduct interviews on the beaches of North Carolina, complete satellite analysis, and co-author journal articles. If you are a student interested in these research projects, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Page designed by Ryan Jordan.
Doug Gamble 10/10
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